Newsletter April 2021

Grayshott Gardeners Newsletter :

April 2021


Welcome to our April newsletter. I hope you are staying safe and have managed to get out in your gardens and enjoy some of the lovely weather.

Unfortunately, we have had to cancel both our April outing to Wisley and our Plant Sale. We will still be selling plants to help generate some funds – this will be at in-person lectures later in the year and our Summer Show on 10th July – which we hope can go ahead. In the meantime, we will sell plants virtually so look out for e-mails with details.

Happy gardening.  Anne Waddell, Chairman


(with his agreement and at his expense)

This month, we thought we would start a feature ‘Grayshott Tales’ and this one is from Gordon Rae about our local vicar, Jeremy Haswell. Coincidentally, three of us happened to meet in the churchyard when Jeremy emerged at speed from the vestry. Having exchanged afternoon pleasantries, we told the vicar that we were discussing the fact that the trees in the churchyard came from different parts of the world. “For example,” I said, “that tall one on the boundary with blue grey leaves from Australia”. Keen to proffer his knowledge, even as a self-confessed non-gardener. Jeremy said he knew that one. “That is”, replied the reverend “a Eucharistus tree”. “Very nearly”, we told him. “That is a Eucalyptus, not a Eucharistus tree”. Not a bad guess for a non-horticultural man of God”!

If you have Grayshott Tales you’d like to share, please get in touch with the editor:

WHAT IS IT? Results for No. 4 & Photo for No. 5

The answer for March 2021 was the end of a banana. Congratulations to members Karen Cozens (again!) and Bronwyn Pennington who correctly identified the photo.

Photo no. 4: the end of a banana

And here is photo no. 5

If you think you know what it is, please e-mail Gordon Rae.

We will provide the answer and the names of those who correctly identified the photo in our May newsletter.


This month we feature the ‘Top 5 Plants’ of our patron and president, Gordon Rae and his wife Judith. Here is what they said:

As Karen Cozens found last month, choosing just five favourite plants is near impossible. We have chosen plants which have done well in Grayshott on our lighter, acidic soil.

  Daphne bholua  Judith has chosen this plant variety ‘Jacqueline Postill’ because of its abundance of purplish pink to white flowers in the bleak month of January. They are highly fragrant and the scent hangs on the still air in the border of our patch of woodland garden. The plant is evergreen, and the flowers are followed by black seeds, which germinate quite easily.  
  Galanthus  The Daphne is followed by a collection of Snowdrops, the true harbinger of spring, although our Snowdrops have a succession of shapes, sizes and markings from November until late March.  
  Camellias    Camellias and Rhododendrons are well suited to the acidic soils of Grayshott. Different species of Camellias will provide us with flowers from early (C. sasanqua) to late (C. transnokoensis) winter and throughout the spring (C. sinensis) in a colour palette ranging from deep red, pink to yellow and the purest of white. Camellias also provide evergreen foliage, but the buds and flowers do suffer from frost and rain damage.  
  Hostas  Judith now has a collection of 60-70 different Hostas growing happily in pots, pans and open borders. The variety of leaf form and colour combinations of green, white, cream and yellow, followed by spikes of blue flowers is infinite and come in any size from miniature to very large like ‘Sum and Substance’ and ‘Big Daddy’.  
  Acers  A large genus of over 100 species, again with a wide variety of size from small shrubs to large Maple trees, with a choice to suit any Grayshott situation. Acers have been chosen for their beautiful crisp, clean and fresh foliage and particularly their spectacular deep red, brown, orange and yellow intense autumn colours. A must for any Grayshott Gardener.  

Next month our Programme Coordinator, Sue Wheeler, is going to share with us her list of her top five plants. Don’t forget that any member can submit an article; it can be about your ‘Top Five Plants’ or about any garden related topic – the only criterion is that it is about your garden! Please get in touch with our editor at, if you have a possible article or would like to discuss an idea


Our Zoom lectures continue to be very popular. The talk this month on Wednesday 14th April is given by the celebrated Timothy Walker, entitled ‘What Have Plants Ever Done for Us?’. Rarely does a minute go by when we are not involved in an activity that would be impossible without the help of plants. This talk looks at mankind’s dependence on plants for everything from food to film and from painkillers to paint.  It also examines the ways in which our exploitation of plants could keep up with demand from an increasing global population and what we as individuals can do to help future generations.

Timothy Walker is a British botanist. He was the Horti Praefectus of the University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum. From 1977–1980, Timothy studied for a BA degree in Botany at University College, Oxford. From 1980–82, he was a trainee gardener at the Oxford Botanic Garden. From August 2014 he was a stipendiary lecturer in Plant Sciences at Somerville College, Oxford, and now holds similar positions at Pembroke College and Hertford College.

Timothy gives many lectures to groups up and down the country and is obviously very popular and we are very lucky to be able to welcome him into our homes via Zoom.

One quote: “If you haven’t heard him, his lectures are the equivalent of sparkling vintage champagne” Val Bourne (Oxford Times). 

This event is open to all members starting at 8pm but as always you can log in at 7.30pm for a bit of a chat, before we are all ‘muted’ ready for the lecture.

Further details about logging in can be obtained from Helen Deighan if you are not already registered. Details automatically will be sent to all those members who registered for the previous ZOOM lectures. On the night of the lecture, it will be possible to admit up to 100 people on ZOOM – so first come, first served.


Don’t forget that, when possible, we record our lectures too and they are available, after the lecture, for a time limited period if you didn’t have a chance to ZOOM in or you want to listen to it again. The recording of the February lecturer, garden designer Amanda Patton, had an amazing 118 hits, (even more than the ‘pig’ lookalike of our ZOOM coordinator John Price!), while there were approximately 70 logins for the live event. You will receive details of the recordings via e-mail – so do watch out for them.


Our plant sale which was to take place on 8th May cannot go ahead because of the difficulty of complying with COVID-19 requirements. However, undaunted, we are proceeding to sell plants that we have painstakingly divided and nurtured throughout the winter. Please keep your eyes peeled on your e-mail in-box – and act FAST. The Chrysanthemum Frutescens (marguerite daisy) which our Chairman, Anne, had for sale last month were all snapped up within half an hour!


And, sadly, the easing of restrictions roadmap also does not allow us to proceed with our scheduled GG outing to R.H.S. Wisley on 28th April. Watch this space about other GG outings (see your yellow 2021 Handbook) which we hope it will be possible to hold.


As reported in our last newsletter, our Spring Photographic competition is going ahead, even though we regretfully have had to cancel the Spring Show. The title is “It Looks Like Spring”. You are invited to e-mail one photo to Gordon Rae. Judging will be carried out by an external judge. There will be the usual prize of £20 for the winner.

The closing date for the Spring entries has been extended until 30th April 2021.  Please don’t forget that a little humour in the photos will be much appreciated!


An article has been spotted on NextDoor Grayshott which may be of help, if your box hedges are suffering from box moth. This is a ‘home remedy’ and an unproven technique to our knowledge, but you may want to give it a try.

With the slices of warm spring weather becoming more frequent, the highly destructive box moths are coming back. They can strip a plant in weeks. Please could you keep a look out and take action if you find any? We really need to act as a neighbourhood on this J. They are fairly easy to pick off by hand, though if you have lots of box, this might not be practical.

Having tried all the more natural remedies, this one seems to work the best:

250ml water

3tsp Neem oil (easy to find on-line)

1tsp lavender or rosemary oil

Squirt washing up liquid or liquid soap

Mix in spray bottle and mist over whole plant, especially around the base. Keep your pets away for a few hours at least. I use it fortnightly or more often if heavy rain. It does smell strong, but works SO well.


One of our popular lecturers, David Hurrion, and well respected in the horticultural world, has a really good website here. You can sign up to receive David’s regular newsletter by going to the form at the bottom right-hand corner of his home page.

And don’t forget our own website here, which is regularly updated.


Another of Britain’s much-loved gardeners is Monty Don. For years, he has been leading us down all kinds of paths to show us why green spaces are vital to our wellbeing and culture. It seems like the Americans agree too – see this article here from “across the pond” on the British institution that is Gardeners’ World.

Apart from the fact that the dogs are Golden Retrievers (not Labradors), we think it’s a pretty good piece.